Othello– Shakespeare and Sax’s Movie Adaptation
Texts show their contexts and this appears in both William Shakespeare’s Othello and Geoffrey Sax’s movie Othello. This reflection is established through the 2 concepts of bigotry and the inequality in between genders. The context of a text plays an essential role as it is the method which the composers convey their message and this is done effectively as both authors are conveying a crucial message about racism and gender inequality. Racism is a theme that is plainly evident throughout Shakespeare’s Othello.
Through this theme, there are several understandings of an individual’s race which are shown to establish the text’s context. During the Elizabethan era, those who were coloured were considered as being inferior in contrast to those of an Anglo-Saxon background. Iago represents this view upon race in as he, along with other characters, judges Othello based on his look. In the opening scene, Iago warns Brabantio, “an old black ram is tupping your white ewe”. Through using animal images, Iago parallels Othello to a racial subtext of black versus white and thus deteriorates Othello’s status, positioning himself on a greater social platform.
Using racial slur highlights the extension of Elizabethan principles that black men are assumed to have an animal-like sexual behaviour. Also in the play, Brabantio states “… in spite of nature … to fall for what she fear ‘d to look on! It is a judgment main ‘d and most imperfect … versus all rules of nature” (1. 3. 6). This quote refers to how Brabantio considers his child’s love with the Moor to be unnatural as Desdemona would obviously never ever fall in love with a black man. Brabantio utilizes repetition to firmly insist that Othello needs to have “enchanted” his daughter with black magic rather than their relationship consisting of true love.
Likewise to the play, the movie adjustment of Othello incorporates the concern of race reflecting the context of the film. Recently, bigotry has reduced significantly with coloured people gaining more rights such as the capability to vote. With this being stated, it is still apparent that racism still occurs as demonstrated by the film. Like Iago, Jago likewise utilizes racial slurs such as ‘Nigger’ and ‘huge black bastard’, when congratulating Othello’s promotion as a commissioner. It is clear to the audience that Jago’s intent are far from what is seen by Othello as the camera uses a close up shot to stress Jago’s conniving facial expressions.
The tone obvious in Jago’s compliments shows dramatic paradox as the audience understands Jago’s intentions and plans. Another example of racism in the movie is throughout the bathroom scene in the movie. The commissioner speaks with Jago and states “If I could discover any with brains as big as their cocks I ‘d be a delighted guy”, in recommendation to coloured officers. The quote refers to the assumed obsessive sexual behaviour inhabited by black guys. Gender inequality is apparent in the play, showing the context of the Elizabethan period.
During the Elizabethan period, the discrimination of gender remained in favour of men as they had the complete control in all relationships and dominated the labor force. Unmarried women were regarded as ‘residential or commercial property’ of their daddies and married women were considered ‘residential or commercial property’ of their spouses. This is evident throughout the play as there is an absence of trust between the relationships between a guy and a female. Iago furthers this distrust by stating that, ‘She [Desdemona] did trick her father, marrying you …’, describing the reality that women can not be relied on and that they are most likely to be unfaithful.
This perception of ladies has resulted in the inequality in between the genders as males decline to provide any sort of power to lady in worry of being deceived. The tone exhibited by Iago stresses the unfavorable undertone and degrading of ladies as perceived by Iago. Another example of gender inequality is Iago’s negative perception of ladies. He states, ‘They are lazy around the house except that they are active in their bed’. The quote recommends that females are like prostitutes. The derogative comparison of all ladies to woman of the streets supports the discriminations based on sex.
Also, the movie adjustment likewise explores the ideas of discrimination based on gender. In recent years society has actually enhanced on equalising the position of males and females, however, it is still apparent that inequalities do exist. Throughout the film, no lady is put in an occupational level that is high valued and respected. All the members of the police and justice system are male. This supports the idea that even through developments; society is negligent in offering women too much power. The conventional view of guys dominating the relationship can also be extracted from the movie as Othello is the clear boss versus Dessie.
Dessie remarks to Othello questioning, “Isn’t it constantly like that? Ladies noting to males without talking.” The quote reveals the level of the understanding of females as their position in society is irrelevant compared to men. To produce this message, the use of low and high angle shots highlights the power within the relationship. When focusing on Othello, the camera is placed at a low angle to show his superiority whereas when concentrating on Dessie, the cam is positioned at a high angle to show her inability and vulnerability. Both texts of Othello show their contexts in spite of the difference in release dates.